School likes PV park idea by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · July 19, 2013
School leaders like the city’s proposal to purchase 18.6 acres of land in Pedersen Valley for a new park, while the Parks & Recreation Commission is encouraging residents to contact the City Council about both the land purchase and a recreation center.
On Monday, members of the West Branch Community School District Board of Education discussed the park in its open forum and the plan to purchase 22 acres — about four acres of which is mainly for city access to a creek — in the westside neighborhood for $375,000.
“It will make the school board’s decision (on future building needs) not as cloudy,” school board member Kathy Knoop said, if the council builds the park.
Board President Mike Owen called it a “really positive step that the city’s looking for answers” to recreational needs.
“The city hasn’t done much on recreation,” he said. “I hope they can find a solution the community is happy with. We have to make the community more attractive.”
Board member Richard Paulus said it seems West Branch is growing to the northwest, so plans for a park there would make sense. He noted that he has seen six home construction projects in Pedersen Valley and The Meadows subdivisions in the past couple of weeks.
Knoop said nearby Lions Field is busy with soccer and T-ball games.
“There are tons of families with young kids,” she said. “This is very much needed.”
West Branch Parks and Recreation printed up full-color pamphlets and distributed them to city households over the weekend, encouraging community members to also attend the 7 p.m. July 22 City Council meeting.
The pamphlet notes that the council “is considering the purchase of land for a future community recreation complex.”
While the city’s initial plan is to buy the land and build it up with ball fields, a concession stand, a playground and parking, the city hopes to one day build a recreation center on it.
Parks & Recreation Commission member Becky Hosier posted links to the site plan on her Facebook page trying to drum up interest in the project.
“Residents of WB this is our time to voice our opinion,” Hosier wrote. “If you are in favor of having a community rec center that will be able for all age groups to enjoy please, please, please help us out ...”
A July 9 posting by Hosier, which was meant to announce a P&R commission meeting, is still generating comments for and against the plan, with the most recent count at more than 110 comments left Tuesday morning.
The City Council will vote on whether to purchase 22 acres of land in Pedersen Valley, with about 18.6 acres going toward a new park, at its 7 p.m. Monday, July 22, meeting.